A License to Serve: Designing Thriving Missions Communities

A License to Serve: Designing Thriving Missions Communities

YWAM campuses and missionaries worldwide flourish when they have the practical and professional resources necessary to stay focused on their ministries’ core work. Providing those resources is at the heart of what MBI does—so others may thrive.

Partner Architects is one of the professional resources MBI offers. They provide architectural “design for missionaries, by missionaries,” working with ministries in under-served locations “to create places that support God’s redemptive work in the world.”

Partner Architects’ door is open to professional architects who share their vision. In September 2023, they welcomed Garrett Morrison.

Garrett knew he was different from the time he was in the sixth grade. A math assignment triggered his lifelong desire to become an architect, and he organized his high school studies accordingly. Then, in Garrett’s junior year, the Lord threw him a curve ball, calling him to be a missionary. At the time, Garrett had no idea how architecture and missions fit together, so he laid down his vision for architecture to become a missionary with YWAM.

Garrett served for nearly a decade with YWAM Montana-Lakeside (along with his wife Sarah and their four children). He spent the latter half of those years with the independent architectural ministry 100 Fold Studio. Those years of training set him on a path to becoming a licensed architect, and after a year of university, he joined a firm in Washington state, taking the opportunity to complete licensure through work experience.

“All in all, it took a decade of training and testing, and by God’s grace, I passed my final exam and became a licensed architect in 2023,” Garrett says. “Soon after, the Lord called me to take a new step and work with MBI’s Partner Architects.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to come alongside missionaries as a professional resource in architectural design, to journey in faith together, ‘lifting their arms’ by undertaking the project design process that could otherwise overwhelm the work of the ministry.

“We’ve heard the horror stories of ministries held back by their current facilities due to lack of resources—unsafe, unfit buildings that neither serve the vision nor communicate the gospel to the community in a way that helps them to flourish. As missionaries ourselves, we share and understand the values and challenges of our missionary clients. We have a unique capacity to speak the same language and help them fulfill the mission and vision God has called them to.” (Photo: Garrett Morrison, center)

After joining Partner Architects, Garrett began designing the new YWAM UofN campus in Pailin, Cambodia (one of the many ministry sites that grew out of the YWAM Battambang campus). Garrett says, “UofN Pailin is exciting because it represents the multiplication of the gospel and the mission within the country that moves YWAM Cambodia closer to the fulfillment of their vision of reaching ‘one nation in one generation.'”

Garrett recently returned from Cambodia, where he visited UofN Pailin and Freedom’s Promise, a ministry currently constructing an 18-classroom school building that will open in 2025. Partner provided a campus masterplan and design for the school, which will significantly increase the ministry’s capacity to impact communities with the gospel and eradicate human trafficking in Cambodia.

Garrett and the Partner Architects team spent a week in late April at YWAM Mazatlán in Mexico. The Mazatlán team plans to grow the campus to house and train 3000 missionaries yearly to reach Mexico and other nations with the gospel.

“For two days,” Garrett says, “the Partner Architects team listened to the Mazatlán leaders and staff members describe their vision and values. We helped them define their measures of success, the campus aesthetics they desire, and the program requirements necessary to meet their mission needs. At the end of more than twelve hours of meetings, as we reported back from our notes what we heard, the hospitality coordinator exclaimed, ‘I think you have captured our heart perfectly!’

“We have a current project in the Gambia in West Africa, where we are helping to design a new YWAM campus in the country’s center. We’re also working with a church project in Samoa and a pastor-training and church-planting ministry in the Middle East.”

Garrett concludes, “Partner Architects could use more licensed architects. We’re praying for two more licensed individuals to join our Montana team. There is a lot of work ahead, and it is thrilling to be a part of it and to have the ability to use our gifts and talents to serve missionaries and the gospel!”

For more information, visit www.partnerarchitects.org.

 

Six Great Reasons to Be a Mission Builder

Six Great Reasons to Be a Mission Builder

If you’re familiar with Mission Builders International, you’ll know we send hands-on help to YWAM ministries all over the globe by recruiting and placing volunteers. You’ll also know those volunteers come in all ages, sizes, skills and abilities and are passionate about serving Jesus. Each one has their own particular motivation for serving, whether the location is near or far. Here are just a handful of the reasons they go. Perhaps they’ll inspire you to go!

To prove that no one is too old to work for God.

“Remind yourself that you are never too old to make a difference and have a purpose,” said one elderly woman, who volunteered at YWAM Salem, OR. “We’re never too old to work for God. I’m 73. As long as God keeps me going, I’m planning on doing His work.”  Mary, another 73-year-old, served at YWAM Ozarks, AR. She wrote: “Most of the students are in their early 20s, but all [of them] talked to me and shared their stories when asked. Their genuine, faith-filled, humble attitudes but normal young dress and actions so inspired me! They really appreciated everything I did to help. I left rejoicing, so encouraged for our younger generations.”

To mentor students, staff, and locals with their skills and know-how.

Retirees Brian and Karen volunteered at YWAM Montana Lakeside. Brian taught carpentry, built cabinets for kitchen units and worked on a local Habitat for Humanity project. “A life skill like carpentry is a valuable outreach tool as well as being useable around the world,” Brian said. Karen added, “He was immensely proud of the young men he trained and absolutely loved teaching them.” Karen worked as the front desk receptionist, but occasionally slipped on the title of Mom or Grandma, “blessing students and staff with prayer time and long conversations.” They said their time “was refreshing and recharged our spiritual batteries.”

To indulge a special passion or life-celebration.

Lynne, a regular mission builder (along with her husband Len) said: “I LOVE to travel! By connecting with MBI, not only do I get to travel anywhere in the world, but I get to travel with a purpose, connecting with and supporting missionaries wherever I go. Where will we go next? It doesn’t really matter, the possibilities are endless, and we know God has our course already planned.”

One lady wrote: “My husband and I volunteered for two weeks with Mission Builders at YWAM Amsterdam. It was a highlight of our two-month retirement celebration trip to Europe. We were warmly greeted . . . made to feel like valued members of the team . . .  told several times how much they appreciated having people our age there, and of course, they were very thankful for the work we did. We’ll definitely explore volunteering at other YWAM campuses.” 

To offer their individual skills, abilities and gifts.

Mission building is “a chance to use the gifts that you possess to help further the gospel message,” Michele wrote. “From cooking to computer programming, and gardening to construction, there are so many ways to help. My husband John is a mechanic, and I am an avid gardener and cook. We’ve served all around the U.S. and are so glad we can be a part of mission work without having to go to a seminary for training! We just serve using the gifts and skills we already have.

Manoela F. from Brazil said: “I’m almost 22, an industrial engineering student and intern worker at Bosch, Brazil. I got vacation from work and college to be a Mission Builder in YWAM San Jose, Costa Rica. I understood a calling from God saying I needed to go someplace not so close and make the people feel loved through things I like to do; for example, playing soccer. As a Mission Builder, I could help in hospitality, I could help in the kitchen to cook for the base, I could play soccer again. I could help the Homes of Hope and the Metro Ministries, too, and join some of the DTS soccer classes.”

To do something they’ve never done before (and take their families with them).

Linda wrote to say: “My family (she, her husband and three kids ages 12, 7, and 5) had an amazing time watching God work through our time at Cowboys With A Mission in Meteetse, WY. We had odd jobs around the base, from cleaning out the cows’ water tub to helping build a house for staff to looking for a rattlesnake that bit three horses early one morning. Mission builders with an open mind and a willingness to fall in where needed will greatly benefit this campus. The directors blessed our family by allowing us to be a part of the CWAM family!”

To broaden their horizons and better their lives.

Swiss couple Kurt and Edith volunteered at YWAM Muizenburg, South Africa. They wanted to improve their English but got so much more. Edith said: It broadened my horizons to see so many other cultures. It was our first time in an English-speaking country. It was interesting and a challenge. Friendly students, full of passion, were thankful to have older volunteers on campus.”

Mission Builder volunteer Casey said:Seeing how the Lord is working outside of the U.S. was really eye-opening. My wife and I had a life-changing experience while we were helping out. We’re currently praying about joining YWAM full time; they’re mobilizing today’s youth for Christ’s mission!”

One young volunteer, who served at YWAM Guadalajara, Mexico, said: “I got to learn more Spanish and was able to touch many peoples’ lives with the love of Jesus. I felt so useful! All my gifts in teaching, music, and audio engineering were used. It was a life-changing experience. The Mexican culture was devoid of materialism and the driven-ness I constantly feel while living in the big city here in America. So when I returned home, all that ‘stuff’ hit me like a wave. But now that I’m back in the swing of things, I can see how my experience serving the peoples of Guadalajara, Ixtlahuacan, Chapala, and Ajijic will help me to live better while I’m here in the States. I have a much broader perspective on life—one I don’t believe I could have without physically going outside America.

As you read through these testimonies, you may have seen your desires mirrored back to you and had an aha! moment. If that happened, remember, there’s room for you to give of your time and energy for the kingdom of God, and MBI can help you find just the right place to do it. Check out the possibilities and fill out an application today at www.MissionBuilders.org!

 

 

Holy Work

Holy Work

Holy Work

by Amy Lindstrom

I remember looking in my husband’s eyes as we sat across from one another at a local restaurant. I had called a meeting. I had a lot on my mind.

I was fighting my way through the sadness of an empty nest, looking for new meaning and purpose. I knew I needed more and I wanted to “finish well.” I had deep fear that my last productive decades would be spent going out for lunch with friends, sharing photos of grand babies, scrap-booking and reading an occasional book. It wouldn’t be enough.

“Give me a few more years,” Paul said. So I did. I waited a few more years, finding more meaning than I’d anticipated. I finished a master’s degree in Christian counseling ministry. I was involved in mentoring younger women and mothers, counseling, praying, leading small groups, teaching. Still, I knew there was more. I wasn’t sure exactly what it was going to look like or how it would happen, but my soul longed for adventure, depth, more of Jesus and a community of others that longed for the same things.

Finally, God intervenAmy5ed and some rearranging began to happen in our lives. Some was good, some was difficult. Paul submitted to the changes, remembering the agreement he made across the table that winter day.

It was time for an adventure with Jesus. Depth, growth, challenge, pain, revelation, surrender; all of these were part of the MBI Crossroads DTS we participated in during the spring of 2014. Not even two years ago! Amazing, considering all that has happened since then. It was as if the waters of labor broke and the real me was birthed from a struggle I didn’t understand at the time.

Like many of you, I knew there was more in me than the world would want me to believe; more than what I saw so many in my generation settling for. I knew all of the experiences, failures, pain, loving and sacrifice I’d lived through was training that made me fit for a work that was somehow holy.

Yes, holy.

Holy is defined as: consecrated to God; set apart for the service of God. I knew the coming decades of my life were to be set apart in a way that was different from those now past. Motherhood and teaching had been services that were sacred in their own particular ways. But, I knew something was waiting that was different.

Looking back at the past 24 months, I find it amazing to see what the Lord has done with the days and weeks and months now in my rearview mirror. I’m blessed to have seen many of my life-long dreams reach their fullness. Some I had even protected from utterance in my prayers. There have been times when I was filled with doubt and painfully stretched, but the adventure I began in my Crossroads DTS has become a whirlwind of adventure, growth and delightful surprises.

Last January, I traveled to Mazatlan, Mexico, where I was a mission builder for 10 days. I went there in a desperate attempt to remind myself that God was working on a plan, ordering my steps, and there was something else to come after my CDTS. I went with small expectations, not knowing what would happen, just willing to serve in a warm and beautiful place. What happened was immeasurably more than all I asked or imagined (Ephesians 3:20). I worked in hospitality and housekeeping, something I knew a little about. But the Lord gave me grace and favor, opening doors so I could also use my education and experience to lead a time of intercession and minister to staff and students through prayer, counseling and teaching. Those younger than me sought my wisdom, knowledge and friendship. They welcomed me as a valuable blessing to their community. This was the encouragement I needed to expand my YWAM training in order to use my experience in counseling ministry to bless YWAMers.

In April of 2015, I attendAmy3ed a secondary school in Kona, Hawaii: Foundations of Counseling Ministry. This has opened further doors for me to use my master’s degree in YWAM. I completed three months of outreach over the fall and winter, ministering in Scandinavia and campuses in my home state of Wisconsin. Paul and I traveled to Mazatlan, Mexico, again where I taught, ministered, counseled and participated in local outreach. He assisted with campus projects and helped build a house with Homes of Hope. In future months, I will continue teaching, counseling and ministering to those who long to expand the kingdom but are hindered by the pain and wounds of life.

This is what I have learned since my adventure with YWAM began:

  • Although the Y in YWAM stands for youth, the younger generation is hungry for the wisdom and experience that my generation has to give. Having lacked a God-like love as children, many still crave the care and nurture of those older than themselves; spiritual mothers and fathers to accept, mentor and cheer. God is a God of the generations. He desires to join the generations together in bonds of love and unity. Yes, they really want us, need us, and we are still part of the story!
  • There is a real community available to us; a big family that loves us as we are and welcomes the chance to do life with us. There is a belonging that is unique to the Body of Christ, where we are able to transcend differences in cultures, colors, languages, age and gender. Yes, there is a community where we can belong!
  • God is challenging my generation to surrender the selfishness of a retirement focused on pleasure; to use the blessings of our age and resources to benefit the kingdom. Yes, we really have much more to give than we realize!
  • It is never too late to heal, find purpose, dream dreams, discover what else is inside of us. God has never stopped dreaming dreams for us and he has not forgotten the things he has whispered into our hearts, the promises he has made. Yes, he is faithful to finish what he started in each of us (Philippians 1:6)!
  • God knows us. He knows exactly what we bring to his kingdom and the best place to set us. He knows every detail of our joys, talents, knowledge, and if we follow, he will place us exactly where we can most brightly shine for him. That may be behind a bulldozer, in a kitchen, playing with orphans, painting a sign or praying with the brokenhearted. He alone knows where we fit and the time of our arrival. Yes, we can trust him!

AmyinSwedenBe encouraged today! The Father is not finished with me or you. Perhaps, like myself, you can find YOUR place with YWAM and MBI. Perhaps you, too, will begin with a Crossroads Discipleship Training School. God may have another road for you to travel. But I am certain that however the Father chooses to do it, there is still meaningful purpose and growth awaiting you. Change and adventure are both exhilarating and terrifying at times. But to me, the alternative is even more frightening. God is good, trustworthy and faithful. Lean into ALL that he has for you.